Human resource management outsourcing in Spanish firms: Evolution over time and implication for devolution

Debora Gottardello, Mireia Valverde


Purpose: The paper aim to explore the evolution in the use of HRO in Spanish firms, and determine the differences in the degree of implementation of HRO since 1999 until 2014, and also analyze the relationship between HR outsourcing and devolution of HR responsibilities to line managers in Spanish organizations.

Design/methodology/approach: This paper combines quantitative and qualitative methods. Namely the article is based on international Cranet HRM survey data collected from private and public organizations and also interviews with HR external providers.

Findings: The analysis of developments, based on the Cranet surveys and interviews with HR external providers shows that during the past few years there has been an increasing use of HRO in parallel with the tendency to devolve more HR responsibility to line managers.

Research limitations/implications: The main limitation of this research is the limitation of data about reasons for devolution that the CRANET questionnaire provides. However, the interviews carried out enrich the survey data with qualitative results.

Practical implications: The findings can be used to guide management teams in outsourcing and devolution decisions to maximize benefits to their organizations.

Originality/value: This paper is about the evolution of HRO in Spain as a European Union country where published research on HRO and also its implications is relatively limited. The originality of this paper is mainly the involvement of line manager in the outsourcing process which have been poorly analyzed until now.


Outsourcing, human resources, devolution, administrative activities, supply chain management

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Licencia de Creative Commons 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Intangible Capital, 2004-2024

Online ISSN: 1697-9818; Print ISSN: 2014-3214; DL: B-33375-2004

Publisher: OmniaScience